Bradford Bulls v Featherstone Rovers Betfred Championship Round 14 (Sunday 25th July 2021)
This was going to be a test for Featherstone with it being the week after their Wembley exploits, and Rovers were still missing a few players due to Covid protocols, and the fact it was a West Yorkshire derby added extra spice. It was 3rd placed Bradford Bulls against 2nd placed and unbeaten Featherstone Rovers.
It was only on radio this week, not on OurLeague so I listened to it.
Could Bradford end the remarkable unbeaten start by Rovers, or would Rovers make it 13 out of 13?
It was played at Odsal.
After 3 minutes, Chisholm dropped the ball on the last tackle, and Bradford had a set on the Rovers forty.
1st Bradford try
A minute later, and the first try went to Bradford as from that set, Evans went over under the sticks, successful conversion by Keyes.
Three minutes later, Hall ran into the Bradford half, but Hall didn’t play the ball correctly.
After 10 minutes, Bradford won a penalty for dissent by Rovers, and Bradford chose to take the 2 points on offer and Keyes kicked it from 40m out.
A minute later, Keyes had a 40/20 attempt which fell agonisingly short, but Gale got halted by Bradford.
Three minutes later, it was the first real Rovers attack as Harrison broke through but was stopped on the Bradford 20m line.
Then a minute later, Rovers conceded a penalty again 15 metres out, and Bradford again chose to kick for goal and Keyes again successfully converted it.
After 18 minutes, Gale did well to foil a 40/20 attempt by Keyes and he brought the ball into the midfield.
Four minutes later, Rovers won a penalty which was kicked into touch, and on the 2nd tackle Harrison stretched over but was stopped, but Featherstone then won another penalty.
1st Rovers try
After 23 minutes, from that penalty the ball went out wide and Doyle dived over in the corner, from the touchline Hall successfully converted.
Then from the kick-off Bradford went out on the full and the ball went back to the halfway line, and Chisholm found touch which meant Rovers were 15m away from the Bradford line.
2nd Featherstone try
A minute later, Rovers nearly got over a couple of times , then Brown ran from dummy half and scored, successful conversion by Hall and Rovers ahead.
2nd Bradford try
Just after the half hour, Bradford went back ahead in this topsy-turvy game as Keyes fed Foggin-Johnston who scored in the corner, unsuccessful conversion by Keyes.
3rd Bradford try
5 minutes before halftime, Bradford scored a 3rd try as from the kickoff, Walker broke 50metres , found Hallas who gave the ball to Pickersgill to score easily, successful conversion by Keyes.
Halftime score: Bradford Bulls 20-12 Featherstone Rovers
An intriguing first half, Bradford started well, then Rovers scored two tries and ended up behind, was Featherstone’s unbeaten record in danger or would they turn it round 2nd half?
3rd Rovers try
5 minutes into the 2nd half, Rovers back in and it was a great try as Harrison did a thunderous run and spun over to score, successful conversion by Hall.
4th Rovers try
Three minutes later, back to back Rovers tries and for Harrison as he crashed over on the last tackle to score, successful conversion by Hall and Rovers were back in front.
After 55 minutes, Spence was in at the corner, but got bundled into touch.
5th Rovers try
Just before the hour mark, Rovers got a fresh set of 6 and from dummy half again Brown scored with a powerful dive over the line, successful conversion by Hall and it was a 10 point lead for Rovers, game over?
After 64 minutes, Rovers were awarded a penalty 40m away from the sticks, and Hall successfully converted it.
4th Bradford try
To their credit, Bradford didn’t feel this was over and with 13 minutes remaining, Pickersgill fed Evans who barged over in the corner, unsuccessful conversion by Keyes.
After 71 minutes, Keyes made an amazing run and got ankle tapped and Gale came in after the tackle, and he got sinbinned for the rest of the game.
5th Bradford try
After 73 minutes, Bradford made it a 2 point game again as Flanagan went over under the sticks Flanagan quickly converted his own try and a grandstand finish was on the cards.
6th Rovers try
With two minutes remaining, Featherstone got the win as Chisholm intercepted a loose pass 40metres out and raced away unopposed to score a superb try, unsuccessful conversion by Hall.
Fulltime score: Bradford Bulls 30-36 Featherstone Rovers
It was a cracking advert for Championship rugby league, it was a topsy-turvy afternoon but it was Featherstone who got the 2 points and a 3rd win over Bradford this season 2 in the league, 1 in the cup, and Featherstone remain unbeaten as they’ve won 13 out of 13.
Next up for Featherstone is a huge home game against fellow unbeaten team Toulouse Olympique who even though they’ve played less games they will be top going into this one at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday 1st August 2021 with a 3pm kickoff. Featherstone are calling it #BlueWall week as they want as many Rovers fans as possible to get down to Millennium Stadium/Post Office Road to cheer the lads on, as I don’t think many Toulouse fans will be there.